Sunday, 24 June 2007

Inside the Whitstable Museum and Gallery, Peter Cushing memerobilia, diving and oyster history, The Library of Secerts!

The Library of Secerts Book Club will be celebrarting the movie career of Peter cushing in books! For those of you who don't know Peter Cushing is a local hero in Whistable as this is where he setteled down in the later part of his life. There is a section in the Whitstable Museum and Gallery devoted to Peter Cushing's life and work!


The Library has arrived in Whitstable! This is part of a four day residency located at the Whitstable Museum and Gallery. I am here to advertise and promote the library in Whitstable, recruiting as many new members to the Library as possible. The Library will be staying in Whitstable for a year, it will organise a book club, a writing challenge, a campaign to save the Whitstable Librarian and much. much more!
The Library will travel around Whitstable throughout the year, apprearing in different locations, including the Public Library, the Horsebridge Centre and the Museum. People will be able to deposit secrets, memories and thoughts amongst the pages of the books as well as participating/attending book club debates, film screenings and book sniffings.
This residency is part of a year long project that will culminate at the Whitstable Biennale in 2008.

Tomorrow is the Library’s first outing and at the moment it is hard to see a.) how the community will react to the work,b.) if the library will actually move, c.) if the library will actually be able to fit through the narrow alley way that runs down the side of the Museum. All shall be revealed tomorrow!

Monday, 18 June 2007

In November 2006 I was artist in Residence on the Worlds End Estate, Chelsea and Kensington, London. I was on the estate for 6 weeks and as part of many attempts to get residents to reconsider their surroundings, The Library of Secrets established The Worlds End Estate Book Club. The Book Clubs book of the month was JG Ballards High Rise. At the end of my residency, book club members convened in the Chelsea Theatre for the
Book Club Debate! The debate was chaired by Helen Brown, Journalist and Broadcaster, residents discussed their understanding of the book in comparison to their own experience of High Rise Living.

Official Worlds End Estate Postcard, 2006. This was the winning photo of the Belle-Vue competition which invited residents to submit their best view from the estate, the winning photo was made in to a postcard which was distributed across the estate.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

A red brick building with large glass panels and seamless sliding doors nestles beside Sainsbury’s just off of the Roman Rd. there is a fat tattooed bouncer/security guard at the main entrance. As I enter my senses are assaulted by garish lime green, red and orange covering parts of the walls and floor. A coffee shop beckons you inside with stainless steel tables and chairs; the cappuccino machine coughs and splutters as it froths up a carton of milk. An Elderly man sits drinking his tea next to the touch screen information centre; there are CD’s and DVD’s to rent but where are the books? This is Tower Hamlets vision of the future, a new idea for libraries, this is the Idea Store.

The Library of Secrets celebrates the value and function of existing libraries which are under valued, under funded and under threat. New government initiatives such as the Idea Store ring the death knell for the libraries that I grew up using. These beautiful Victorian constructions and strange squat 60’s builds, house slightly ailing book collections with skilled librarians who have a genuine desire to assist in the dissemination of knowledge and information. Local libraries have been under funded and under threat for many years seeing closures in smaller, more rural towns across England. Progress does not have to mean destroying what already exists by replacing a well-established system with a brand new one, which is more about image than content. Progress is surely improved facilities and more money for books not coffee shops and touch screen information centres, which demonstrate a dehumanising trend towards the blurring of consumerism and culture.

The Library of Secrets is a mobile library conceived out of a love of keeping and finding things hidden amongst the pages of books. This bespoke double sided bookshelf houses an eclectic collection including 19th century fiction, historical reference, biography and crime thrillers. However, unlike most libraries the value of this collection does not lie in the rarity, significance or condition of its books but instead in what is entombed between their pages. I wanted to create a mobile environment that would become a collection point for the knowledge, thoughts and wisdom of a community. As I often keep pieces of writing that are important to me inside books I wanted to replicate this idea in the library. Appearing and disappearing in different venues, this structure has a tardis like quality, embedded within this double sided bookshelf are two writing booths, inside them you will find everything you need to express your thoughts; pen, paper and privacy. Once committed to paper you are invited to place your thought/s in one of the 400 hundred books that line the library’s olive wood shelves.